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Latino voter registration outreach in Spanish aims for 10,000 new voters by November

Posted at 9:45 AM, Aug 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-26 13:34:17-04

PHOENIX — Hundreds of thousands of new voters are registering to vote every year. The grassroots organization Aquí se Vota says many of those new voters are Spanish speakers with no access to information about the electorate process in their language.

“Sometimes the information is not accessible to them either because of language barriers or because they're new to the voting process,” expressed Luis Ávila, founder of Aquí se Vota.

Ávila says Aquí se Vota is an effort to make the voting process as simple and safe to the Spanish-speaking community.

“We're starting with the language of the people by using the cultural context and cultural responsiveness for a better chance of having people reading the information.”

Their outreach program content is created first in Spanish, then it gets translated in English for bilingual Latinos.

“I think that some other campaign institutions are using Google Translate without the cultural context, so we end up reading information that is more confusing than written in English. We're using cultural competence and responsiveness as a way to communicate,” explained Ávila.

Aquí se Vota's goal is to register 10,000 new voters, between registrations and commitments to vote, before election day this November.

They say they plan to reach their goal through volunteers or “promotores” by having each volunteer register 10 people, starting with their own family members.

“Families talking to families, talking to friends about how the voting process works, how voting by mail works, how the registration works and about the myths that are out there,” stated Ávila.

Promotore and pastor Norberto Cruz says he decided to join forces with the Phoenix grassroots organization.

“If you support Biden, go and vote. If you support Donald Trump, go and vote. Vote for whoever you want, but get out and vote,” said Cruz.

Cruz has been preaching in Spanish at “La church online” for a few years, but he says seeing many Latinos not registering to vote made him want to switch gears.

“People think that their vote is useless and that it won't count. They think it won’t matter cause the elections are rigged.”

Pastor Cruz will now be known as coach Cruz as he switches from preaching to educating new Latino voters about the electoral process.

“A lot of people are afraid to vote in person because of the Coronavirus and they decide it is better to not go to cast their vote. My goal is to educate them about voting my mail,” said Cruz.

“We have to make sure the information is readily available, and is factual as well,” stated Ávila.

Arizona has become a battleground state and the Latino vote could have a major impact this November.

“That's why we're seeing campaigns spending a lot of money in Spanish language ads because they know that our vote is very powerful this year. Just think about 2018, Latinos voted at levels as high as the presidential election that means that they're really paying attention,” said Ávila.

For coach Cruz it is important to not forget that the process by mail has been working for many years and that it is reliable.

“You don’t want the ballot in a frame hanging on your wall. You want it in the mail. We need to have a voice with our vote.”

For more information about volunteering with Aquí se Vota, visit: https://www.aquisevota.com/english.